&#91EDITORIALS&#93Come clean, Hyundai

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[EDITORIALS]Come clean, Hyundai

The Hyundai Group is sticking to silence while the entire nation is mired in turmoil because of the scandal that Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. transferred capital to North Korea.

We find it hard to accept that owners and management at Hyundai companies, who must pride themselves on being the leading figures in the industrial scene, do not offer any excuses or self-reflections. They are mute about the secret funneling of the capital and the collusion with the Kim Dae-jung administration during the last five years.

Management at Hyundai companies committed wrongdoings not only to taxpayers, but also investors of the firms. Cases are rampant in which Hyundai has lacked transparency in its mangement.

For example, Hyundai Merchant had kept secret its sending of more than 200 billion won ($168 million) to Pyeongyang for more than two years, skipping the procedure of booking the money. The company never disclosed the fact, deriding investors and exaggerating financial losses. It is natural that individual investors feel compelled to file a suit for damages they incurred.

More than 10 trillion won ($8.3 billion) in public funds reportedly were funneled into the Hyundai Group, which makes all taxpayers victims.

Since the the 1997-1998 financial crisis, Koreans have been complacent and believed that collusion between the government and corporations disappeared. The Hyundai scandal provides evidence just the opposite.

The government and financial "supervisory" agencies took actions to financially support Hyundai, and the management at the group misappropriated hundreds of billions of won at the order of the owner. Business ethics are nowhere to be found, and against this backdrop, enhancing corporate governance is an empty promise.

Hyundai must accept its share of social and business responsibilities. Hyundai, if it still thinks is one of the leading corporations of the Korean economy, must own up to all the dirt it has been involved in.
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